How the changes in the child care subsidy program affects working families

Naomi Support EducationA Single Mother Struggles with Doubling of Parent Fee

A single mother of a 4 year-old daughter has experienced the benefits of having her daughter enrolled in an early childhood learning facility for the past three years, but with the recent changes in the child care subsidy program, she has seen a significant increase in her parent fee. A full-time working mother, she has enjoyed seeing her daughter thrive at the early childhood learning facility she has been enrolled in since she was a newborn. But her parent fee doubled this month, and her income is not enough to cover the increase. Previously paying $78 a month, she is now responsible for $157 a month and is wary that the costs could go up even higher.

With the recent legislative changes, the parent fee is now a flat rate of 10% of her income, where it was previously based on a sliding scale. She is worried about finding a second job because fees would then increase even higher and she would still not be able to afford care. She is finding it difficult to cover her basic expenses.

Changes In Child care Subsidy Program Affect Care-Givers

A North Carolina couple has taken on the responsibility of six of their relative’s children, ages ranging from 2 years to 11 years-old. These children are the great nephew, great niece, and grandchildren of this couple. Previously, they had a child care fee of $0, and are now looking to cover a monthly bill of over $2,000. With their combined income, they will still not be able to cover the costs of child care for the six children under their care, so the wife is planning on quitting her job so she can take care of the children. With this decrease in income, they are now finding it difficult to cover the costs for their mortgage, food and utilities. Without the wife’s income, they will have to receive assistance for food through the SNAP program (formerly known as the food stamp program).

A Family Downscales to Cover Increased Costs of Child care

A North Carolina couple recently took on the custody of their 3 year-old granddaughter. Both had good paying jobs, but still qualified for a child care subsidy to assist in paying for their grand-daughter’s child care. Because of the recent changes to the child care subsidy program, they are no longer receiving a subsidy, and are worried that one of them will have to quit their job to care for their grand-daughter or face the worst-case scenario of placing their grand-daughter into the foster care system. They are looking at making some hard adjustments such as going from two vehicles to one, cancelling cell phones, and possibly closing their recently opened business. They are looking at selling their home and moving into a mobile home. They are worried about the legislative changes and have stated that although they are middle class right now, but after absorbing the added child care costs, their income will be reduced drastically.

A Single Mother Juggles the Bills to Pay for Increased Child Care Costs

A single mother employed as a child care subsidy case worker is now experiencing the same situation as many of her clients. When her son entered kindergarten, she finally became eligible to receive a child care subsidy after being on the waiting list for two years. She enrolled him in an after-school child care facility so she could continue to work full-time.

She no longer qualifies to receive the child care subsidies due to the changes in income eligibility. Her 9 year-old son is still too young to be left home alone, so she tries to make ends meet month by month. Every month she juggles her utility bills to pay the most immediate bill, while holding off the other bills to catch up on later. Each month, she barely escapes having her utilities turned off. Since she cannot make ends meet while paying for the $85 a month after-school care, she is especially concerned about the cost of paying for full-time child care during the summer months.

“Legislators have no idea what it is like to struggle and still be working full time. I think they (the legislators) believe the only people who have trouble paying their bills are people who do not work or who do not work full time,” she says. “How would they live on $2,000/month GROSS income or more like $1,600 a month take home pay when they have rent, electric, food, water, gas bill and child care.”

 

These stories were collected from the Southwestern Child Development Commission

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This story is part of a series collected by The Success Equation. Under the umbrella of Children First/CIS, the Success Equation is an initiative that unites community to reduce and prevent the root causes of poverty so all children can thrive. Get involved! Learn about action steps, volunteer opportunities, and help share these messages by going to www.facebook.com/SuccessEquation. To find more, go to www.successequation.org.